2nd Corinthians 8
Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
Hebrews 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
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TEACHING [More teaching below]
In this chapter Paul talks about his ministry of gathering offerings from the churches for the sole purpose of meeting the needs of the poor Christians at Jerusalem.
This was a pattern of the apostle.
He mentions an un-named brother [Some think it was Luke or Barnabas] who went along to make sure the money was used for this purpose.
Paul says that this person vouched that the money would not be spent on anything else- but used for the poor.
I mentioned on the video that using God’s name ‘in vain’ is a sin.
In this chapter ‘Giving to God’ meant giving to the poor.
The brother who went along on the mission made sure the money was not used for any other reason.
Paul did not use this offering for himself or others who were part of the ministry.
The brother who vouched for this was making sure it was not being misused.
In our day- many times you hear it said ‘Give to God’- often it is said in a way that means giving to a Church- or TV Evangelist- or some Christian organization.
While there are indeed times when this is OK- we need to be careful when we tell people ‘Give to God’ without really thinking about what we are saying.
The general use of the phrase ‘Give to God’ is tagged on to many appeals for money.
Often the money is used for church salaries- or huge church budgets- or misused by preachers who are appealing for offerings that they themselves will use to enrich themselves.
There are many well meaning Pastors who do not realize they are doing this- simply throwing out the phrase ‘Give to God’ and using the money for many other things.
Some do it unconsciously- not realizing the appeal they are making can be in the category of ‘Using God’s name in vain’.
Because they simply assume that appealing for money from a ‘church’ standpoint allows the leaders to use the money for the running of the organization- or for the enrichment of the minister himself.
I say this not to be mean- but to show the context of this chapter.
Some use this chapter itself to justify all types of giving for modern day ministry.
To the good men out there that do this- I simply ask for you to re-think before you appeal with the words ‘Give to God’.
The meaning of this in Paul’s day was much different than the way it is used today.
To those who use the term to personally enrich themselves- they will have to answer to God some day.
I did not have a chance to review the video yet- so this post will have no bullet points.
But I felt I should write this short section to get right to the point- which hopefully was done.
Theses are the main verses from the chapter that speak about what I just wrote-
2Corinthians 8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
2Corinthians 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
2Corinthians 8:3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
2Corinthians 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. [Poor Christians at Jerusalem]
2Corinthians 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
2Corinthians 8:19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
2Corinthians 8:20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: [That the money was not used for any other reason]
2Corinthians 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
PAST POSTS [These are links and parts of my past teachings that relate in some way to today’s post- verses and links at the bottom of this post]
2ND CORINTHIANS 8- Paul talks about giving in these next 2 chapters. It’s important to see the context in which he is speaking. Many fine men [pastors] and believers will use a verse or two out of these chapters and apply them in a wrong, or out of context way. We find verses like ‘he that sows [plants] sparingly will reap sparingly’ or ‘God shall supply all your needs according to his riches and glory’. These verses [as well as a few others] are to be seen in the context of giving in a charitable way, doing it by ‘choice’ and not by force, and giving freely to help the poor saints that were living at Jerusalem. But too often these verses are used to tell believers if they do not tithe 10 percent of their income into a Sunday morning offering, they will be cursed. Or appeals are made by the TV preachers that say ‘sow into this ministry and reap a harvest’ in many of these scenarios there is tremendous force and manipulation used to get the saints to give money for all types of projects, or to fund the rich lifestyles of charismatic figures. These things ‘ought not to be done’. In this chapter Paul says he that gathered little had ‘no lack’ how often have we taught believers to ‘get a full harvest’ and said it in a way that says unless you ‘gather much’ you will be in lack? Here Paul says those who gathered ‘just enough’ those who were satisfied with the basics ‘had no lack’. Or ‘give according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have’ how many appeals are made all the time telling believers ‘if you don’t have it, make a vow anyway’? We tell people to give according to what they don’t have all the time. And the churches of Macedonia did give ‘out of their poverty and great affliction’ you do not measure the success or spirituality of believers by the amount of financial wealth they have, these giving churches had ‘poverty’. All in all we need to rethink much of what the contemporary church/ministry does when it comes to money. In these chapters Paul teaches voluntary giving along the lines of helping the poor, we often use all these verses and simply apply them to our ‘churches’ ministries or personal callings. We err. In the next chapter Paul will quote Psalms ‘he hath dispersed abroad, HE HATH GIVEN TO THE POOR, his righteousness remains forever’ again, the whole context is giving to the poor. I know we mean well as believers, but we need to get back to really reading what the text is saying and applying it in that way. To give to churches, or ministries is fine. To give 10 % of your income is fine. To meet the needs of laboring elders/pastors is fine, but we should not use these types of scriptures in a condemning way when exhorting the saints to give, doing that is ‘not fine’.